Today we went to Fromelles to see where the newly raised 5th Australian Division had its baptism of fire. On 19-20 July 1916, the freshly minted formation lost 5,533, half its compliment. A vivid battle description gave all an understanding of what happened, and a check on the water table revealed why the soldiers had to build rather than dig for protection. We marvelled at the magnificent cobber memorial and were moved by VC corner.
Then on to Poperinge, a small Belgian town where our soldiers were sent to rest away from the front. We were impressed by the beautifully restored mediaeval architecture. We were saddened by the killing post where the British tied their own soldiers to shoot them for little more than fear in battle. Australian soldiers will be forever thankful for the sacrifice of Morant, Handcock and the prison terms served by Whitton and the Wilmansrust three; after those incidents no, Australian soldier has been judicially murdered by their own side.
Then on to Broodsenide, to be there 100 years after the battle. Our last visit was to the Passchendaele Museum.
Tomorrow will be a late start, we are to be at the Menin Gate ceremony in the evening.